Out of my 200+ RSS feeds, about 20 are close friends of mine, not only for their words but because I know them so it’s more fun. I notice almost all of the personal blogs I read are consistently upbeat.
It’s rare to see a post, “I’ve had a real shitty week. Let me tell you about it” or “Here are all the things I’ve messed up on the past couple days.” Instead, we get only highlights. On my blog, at least, this is defintiely the case. But I don’t think I’m being dishonest; I do think I have a really good life!
My theory is that when you know in advance you’re going to blog something, it changes the actual experience, and you’re inclined to try to make it a positive one so you can write about it positively. For example, I recently had a great solo dinner in Rome. I had a terrific companion (newspaper) and good food. About 1/4 of the way through this thought crossed my mind: “This is an awesome meal. I’m going to blog it.” I did. I was committed in my mind to making it a positive night overall, and it did end up that way. In sum: when I know I’m going to blog an experience, I’m committed to making it a positive experience, and since intention and reaction mostly define the quality of an experience, it usually turns out positive. True, I could always commit to having positive days each day, but knowing I will blog something introduces a weird form of “public accountability.”
This is all related to constructing the preferred narrative of our lives, telling ourselves stories, deluding ourselves to stay happy, crediting our successs to talent instead of luck, so on and so forth. All this is fine by me.
Why live in “reality” when you can live in your own joyous conception of it?
5 comments on “Personal Blogs Are So Upbeat – When You're Gonna Blog Something, You Want it to Be Positive”
Thanks for the great post.
You probably have read him but this reminds me of Victor Frankl’s book: Man’s Search for Meaning. Especially the quote: "We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
And Epictetus, who (depending on the translation)said: “Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them.”
Ben, you’ve touched on something that I’ve become determined to create in all aspects of my days. Positives. Blogging something or not I think holding on to the joy in life is the only way to go.
While I agree that reading blogs that are “positive” are interesting, I prefer that they are real. Meaning, if you feel down or anxious or whatever then let it flow.
Ben, it is very likely that you attract into your life, energetically speaking, what you are and what you vibrate. I’ve always found your writing and our talks to be decidedly honest.
What I like about all of it is I’ve never really heard you proclaim (and re-affirm) that you are a “positive” person. I experience you as being real and honest that translates, for me, to you being loving and kind and, if positive does exist, that’s what I think it should be.
Maybe this begs some sort of classification system for blogger personalities. There are the Big Bens out there – upbeat, curious, full of life. There are also the Chicken Littles, Wendy Whiners, Suzie Snobs, etc.
Maybe it’s like high school – which I hope you can still remember
. Jocks, brains, snobs, geeks, artsy, musical, outcasts, loners, whatever. We all tend to hang with people who are more or less like ourselves in some fundamental way.
My experience is that people’s posts provide a view on who they are – even if it’s filtered.
Go spend some time on LiveJournal or MySpace just surfing from blog-to-blog though people’s links to their friends. You rarely get opposite types in one click.
You are an eager, driven, confident, curious and upbeat guy, and I bet most of your friends are too.
This is so American 🙂
To me one of the enduring (and endearing) differences between American and European cultures is the value that american culture on the one hand places on optimism, and an upbeat approach. While on the other hand Europeans are much more likely to value and cultivate a downbeat, self-effacing cynicism. You see this in the workplace, on the TV and in the blogs we write.
Here’s but one example blog (not mine)
D-FLAT CHIME BAR
Basically a flat bit of metal screwed to a cylinder thing, with a hitting stick. When struck, the thing emitted a sort of mournful off-key boink noise. Story of my life.
Just from that one-sentence ‘about’ you know already that this is a British, not an American blog…